The brightly colored red, orange or yellow flower of the bird-of-paradise plant resembles a flying bird, which earns the plant its name. It thrives in tropical and subtropical areas that don’t experience winter frost, but can be grown as a houseplant in any climate. Potted plants can be placed outdoors for summer then brought inside to overwinter, or they can be grown indoors year-round. Birds of paradise are relatively low-maintenance, providing exotic blooms without a lot of work.
Plant the bird of paradise in a well-drained garden bed where it receives full sunlight. Alternately, plant in a 10-inch-diameter or larger pot that is filled with a potting soil rich in organic matter.
Water when the top half inch of soil feels dry in the garden bed, or when the top 1 inch feels dry in pots. Water at the base of the plant, moistening the top 6 to 8 inches of soil in beds. In summer and fall the plants may require watering one to three times a week, depending on natural rainfall amounts.
Spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around bedding plants. Use bark, wood chips or another organic mulch. The mulch helps prevent weeds while retaining moisture in the soil.
Fertilize both bedding and potted birds of paradise every three months in spring, summer and fall. Apply a balanced slow-release fertilizer at the rate recommended on the package.
Trim out dead leaves and spent flower stalks as necessary. Cut these out at their base, using a clean pair of shears.
Bird of paradise plants are disease- and insect-resistant in most areas.